It’s getting rather spring-like in Copenhagen this week! Snowdrops are out everywhere, the sun is shining and I can actually leave the house without my Barley hat for the first time in weeks! The birds in our neighbourhood are starting to get more active too- from cheeky scavengers to chirpy garden birds- and that’s specifically what’s getting me inspired in my knitting this week.
I’ve fallen a bit in love with magpies in the last few years. I think this was partly because I pay them more attention these days and so notice their habits and idiosyncrasies much more. I’d grown up with wilder landscapes and lots of different natural habitats around about which made me more aware of the cycles and character of garden birds in particular, and the experiences of encountering rarer or wilder visitors always stay with me: Watching a cuckoo during a solitary walk on the west coast of Scotland and the time my mum was startled by a fledgeling buzzard in the greenhouse are two memories that stand out for me :) Now though, I’m around city dwelling scavenger birds much more, and I am growing to love these oddballs! Yes, they can often be disgusting, noisy and a nuisance, but I admire their tenacity, cleverness, inventiveness and constant ability to entertain both me and each other!
So I have begun a magpie-inspired shawl. The pattern is Colour Affection by Veera Välimäki on Ravelry, and I am knitting it out of a mix of fingering weight yarns: some undyed Araucania Ranco, black Onion nettle sock yarn (it has a slight sheen which is perfect for magpie wings) and some more Araucania Ranco for the iridescent greeny-blue feather streaks, from a skein that I dyed last week. I’m really excited to see how it turns out!
I’m also pretty excited about the Country Birds collection of sock yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners. It’s their Signature 4 ply base of 75% wool (including 35% Bluefaced Leicester) and 25% nylon, and each colourway is taken from a different bird native to the UK. What’s really lovely is that the colours are well observed and translate into beautiful yarn. I bought the Blue Tit colourway, but I quite fancy the Mallard colourway as well as it will remind me of walks by the duck pond. Ducks are also very amusing, noisy creatures so I will smile every time I look down at my Mallard-inspired socks!
How about you- are you inspired by any creatures in your craft? I’d love to hear your stories :)